Count Alex de Lesseps and Princess Kemeria Abajobir Abajifar, the granddaughter of King Abajobir Abajifar II, the last King of Jimma, now in western Ethiopia, were in Jimma to start, reportedly, various investments in micro-financing, tourism and clean water among others.
Last month, the NY Post and New York Social Diary reported that Count Alex de Lesseps separated from his wife, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps (the star of “The Real Housewives Of New York City”, a reality show on the Bravo TV channel), for a mysterious Ethiopian woman, who was later identified as Princess Kemeria Abajobir Abajifar, the granddaughter of King Abajobir Abajifar II and also the niece of Obbo Ababiya Abajobir (the Prince of Jimma), who was, until recently, a high-profile member of the Oromo Liberation Front, an organization that has been struggling for the right to self-determination of the Oromo nation, which makes up about 50% of the Ethiopian population, since the mid 1970’s. Here’s a video of Count Alex de Lesseps’ and Princess Kemeria Abajobir Abajifar’s Jimma trip (from Bilisummaa.com).
Updated a broken video: January 19, 2016
Jimma was an independent Kingdom until it was incorporated into Ethiopia in 1933. Jimma was the last Kingdom of the five states that emerged and dominated the Gibe region throughout the 19th century. The five Gibe states were Limmu, Guuma, Gomma, Geera and Jimma; collectively, these states controlled one of the most agriculturally rich regions in the entire Horn of Africa. The vicinity of Jimma (Kaffa) was where coffee beans were first discovered, and the name coffee is believed to have originated from “Kaffa”. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that Jimma is one of the top three coffee producing regions in Ethiopia. Despite having such rich natural resources and history, the Oromo nation has been marginalized in the Ethiopian state framework ever since its incorporation into Ethiopia starting in the late 19th century and ending in 1933, with the fall of Jimma. To learn more about the Gibe states and the Kingdom of Jimma, the following books are highly recommended:
The Historic Jimma Palace